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The fine art of beautiful hair

A chance visit to a hair salon in Florence, Italy, gave Garrett Markenson’s dreams a new focus

Posted: February 19, 2009 11:20 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Garrett Markenson of Garrett Markenson Coiffure in Valencia trims Jennfier Buchalla's hair at his salon. Markenson opened his salon. Markenson opened his salon in October and exclusively uses Davines products form Italy, which is made from food-grade ingredients.

 
It was a field trip in Florence, Italy that forever altered a young artist’s career trajectory.

“My teacher, who used to hang out with Andy Warhol at The Factory, took her students to this amazing salon. It changed my focus from painting to hair,” Garrett Markenson said.  

The ultimate result of that fateful outing is Garrett Markenson Coiffure in Valencia. Opened in October, the salon reflects Markenson’s artistic passions.

The nine-station, funky yet chic shop, with its cool shades of black, white and grey, would be right at home in Silverlake or West Hollywood.  

Markenson, a Valencia native, designed the salon, using contractors to build his vision and customized the final touches himself. Bo Concept dressers were chopped to create unique drawers — with Restoration Hardware mirrors perched atop. White cloth and crystal chandeliers, purchased from a Bridgeport vendor, have a serene vibe while high-tech Japanese hair processors add a touch of sci-fi. Eclectically hip music encases the room. Only natural light is present — no harsh fluorescents here.

“I’ve worked at small shops and I’ve worked at big shops, so I saw where salons were succeeding or failing. I knew what needed to be done,” Markenson said.

Attractive stylists and assistants abound at Markenson Coiffure, a few imported from Beverly Hills. The perky, stylish receptionist was poached from a local Starbucks.

Many sport asymmetrical dos made popular by the Vidal Sassoon Academy, where Markenson trained. All possess a trait most valued by Markenson.

“My staff is super hospitable and proactive. Our competition is us and our reputation, so we insist on providing legendary customer service. Any problem that may arise with a client is an opportunity for us to step in and play hero,” Markenson said.

Playing hero is just one aspect of being a stylist that Markenson appreciates. “I’m a person who likes hanging out with someone new every few hours, so I really enjoy this. It’s an opportunity to be creative and most people love getting their hair done, so it’s usually a positive experience,” he said.

Markenson estimates his clientele as 75-percent female, 25-percent male, mostly professionals. Services at Markenson Coiffure start at $30 for a men’s haircut to $125 for full foil color — all include a pre-service consultation.

“We talk about lifestyle, we talk about products. If someone runs or teaches yoga and puts their hair up all the time, they may not want to go too short. We consider what’s suitable and realistic for each client. It’s all in the consultation,” Markenson said.

The salon exclusively uses Davines products from Italy, which contain food-grade ingredients and feature sustainable packaging.

“Sustainable is the biggest word right now. Clients are getting their color matched as close to the root as possible, it’s more of a natural celebrity glow rather than chunky zebra stripes of the past,” Markenson said.  

Other hot trends include creating hidden bob lines in longer hair which, when put up or put behind the air, expose a whimsical, flattering shape without the commitment to a more extreme, labor intensive style.

“It’s a carefree, low-maintenance, daydreamer look that focuses on intimate details,” Markenson said.
At 26, Markenson’s career is flourishing, with his work featured in salon publications and fashion editorials ranging from Neiman Marcus and Armani to Modern Salon and Launchpad.   

In 2007, Markenson’s art background catapulted him into the industry spotlight when he won a national competition to become the artistic director of ABBA Pure Performance hair products.

Markenson traveled throughout the country during the year-long position, participating in regional hair shows, leading instructional classes and developing creative direction for the brand.

“I was going to paint and teach art, but now I get to do that with hair. My goal is ultimately open a school in Valencia, but I need to continue building experience and brand recognition first,” Markenson said.

Garrett Markenson Coiffure is located at 23920 Summerhill Lane, Valencia. (661) 297-2900. Hours: Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Monday by appointment. For information, visit www.garrettmarkenson.com.

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